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THE UNDERGROUND LEVEL OF THE DUCAL COURTYARD:
EGYPTIAN SECTION OF THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM


ABOUT DEITIES AND CULTS

Great focus is placed on the religious aspects of life in ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians worshipped the god-sun, as well as many other different gods and goddesses. On display within the room are a number of statuettes depicting deities, among which Min-Ptah, Osiris, Isis, Horus (a man with the head of a hawk) and Bastet (a woman with the head of a cat). Each god had its own role to play in ancient Egypt. Most gods and goddesses offered protection to the land. Ancient Egyptian deities were either local gods who represented towns, or minor gods who represented plants, animals and other entities.

Isis breast-feeding Horus, bronze, 25th dynasty (775 through 653 BC), unknown provenance.
Horus, the hawk god, bronze, Late Period (6th through 4th centuries BC), unknown provenance.
Bastet, the cat goddess, bronze, Late Period (6th through 4th centuries BC), unknown provenance.

In ancient Egypt a few animals - such as bulls, ibises, cats and crocodiles - were worshipped as they were thought to represent the gods on earth. They were mummified after their death and buried near temples. Because of these religious beliefs and practices most temple priests used to rear animals intended for sacrifice. The Egyptian section includes mummies of animals and a rich collection of statuettes portraying gods and goddesses. Mention should be made of goddess Sekmet (a woman with the head of a lioness), Horus amid crocodiles and Bes (a disfigured dwarf). The ancient Egyptians believed that amulets of these deities protected against the most common diseases also thanks to magic performed by temple priests.


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Castello Sforzesco - Piazza Castello   20121 MILAN